Edward Amos (1888-1962) and Mary Edna Schmidt (1893-1970) were the last Keeper and Matron of the House of Industry and Refuge from 1933-1954.

Edward was born in Puslinch, Ontario to William Scott Amos (1855-1935) and Nancy Robinson (1859-1939). He grew up alongside his five siblings: Isabella Beth (1879-), William Alexander (1881-1923), Ernest (1885-), Jessie Martha (1891-), and Ella Nancy (1897-). During Edward’s childhood, his father, William Scott, was working as a stone mason in Wellington County. By his late teenage years, Edward was working in a factory earning $150.00 annually. William continued working as a stone mason until his 60s when he became a labourer and did odd jobs for money.

Mary Edna was born in Floradale, Ontario to Killean Schmidt (1846-1906), Catherine Grube (1852-1933). When Mary was young, the family moved to Waterloo where she grew up with her siblings: Lizzie (1875-1962), Henry (1877-1920), Levina (1879-1961), Marjorie (1881-1962), William (1883-1970), and Emil (1885-1886).

Edward and Mary Edna Schmidt married in 1918 and moved to Elmira together to start a family. They had a number of children together. At the time of their marriage, Edward was working as an appraiser and Mary was working as a shoe fitter.


1918 Edward and Mary’s Marriage Certificate; Source: ancestry.ca


After the marriage, Edward began working as a taxi driver, most likely around Elmira and the Waterloo County.

Edward and Mary were appointed as the Keeper and Matron of the House in 1933.  Below is a statement from the Meeting Minutes of the Standing Committee who appointed the Amos’ to become the next managers of the House from a list of 36 other candidates.


Kitchener June 17th 1933


House of Refuge at County Clerks office

A special meeting was called for to day at 2 P.M. By the Board of Management to consider the application for the position as Manager & Matron of the Home.

Present Chairman Willard, Warden Hoffer, Mayor Sturm, H E Ratz & Inspector S Cassel


The following applications were received Viz

Geo E Schmidt.          A Aitchson.                 J Cole.                         M. A Schmidt.

P J Shantz.                  W. Schildroth.             J Bingeman.                Ed. A Amos.

H Smith. D Harting. J Petch.                        B Bauman.

H Reive.                      Lorne B Weber.          Wm Shelly.                 H R Bricker.

S Woolner.                  Chas Bieth.                 N Riffer,                     E Gilders.

C Derbecker.               C Cress.                       A B Maiers.                 H P Burrows.

J M Willard.                N Davidson.                Wm Ferguson.             C Abbot.

Theo B Winn.              E Lackner.                   J Jager.                             N E Ratz.

D Litwiller.                 N Heller.                     Geo Lichly.                 R W Moore.

Chas Bauer.


After considering the applications and testimonials the following resolution was presented Viz


Moved by A W Hoffer Sec by Mayor Sturm that Mr & Mrs Ed A Amos application be accepted. And we would further recommend to the Councils of County of Waterloo & Cities of Kitchener & Galt for their approval that the salaries be as follows per year Manager $1000.00, Matron $500.00 & Automobile expenses $300.00.                                                                                Carried




From the above statement, Edward was earning $1000.00 a year which was twice as much as what his wife, Edna, was earning. Edward was always paid a substantial amount more than Edna. In 1942, Edward was given a raise to $1400.00 annually and Edna received a raise to $600.00 annually. At the same time, the automobile expenses were increased to $700.00 a year, more money than Edna’s salary.


Kitchener March 6th  1942

House of Refuge

The Board of Management met this day at 2 o’clock P.M.

Present Chairman Shaw, Warden Stager, W Hostetler, Mayor Meinzinger Mayor McKay, Dr Lurner & Inspector S. Cassel

Moved by Mayor Meinzinger Sec by W Hostetler that bills No 1 to 50 inclusive be now passed as audited.  Carried


Move by Warden Stager Sec by Mayor Meinzinger that the salary of Mr E Amos manager be $1400.00 and the salary of Mrs Amos matron be $600.00 and the automobile expenses $700/00 all to be yearly beginning from January 1st 1942.  Carried


On motion the committee adjourned at 5 o’clock P.M.


WH Shaw



In 1934, the managers were given the task to begin searching for a new refrigeration system for the House. In 1900, there had been discussion in the Meeting Minutes of the Standing Committee about purchasing a refrigerator for the first time, but it is unclear if anything was purchased at the time. Edward and Edna were the first managers mentioned to have purchased a refrigerator for the House. They purchased equipment and a refrigerator box for $1748.00.


1934 Journal of Proceedings and By-Laws of the Municipal Council of the County of Waterloo; Source: Region of Waterloo Archives


Also in 1934, they allowed for companies and businesses they worked with to put their brand on a sign that would be erected on the House of Refuge property for $15.00/year.  Below is the arrangement in the Meeting Minutes for the Standing Committee.


Kitchener July 13th 1934

House of Refuge

The Board of Management met this day at 2pm present

Chairman Mercer, Warden Hallman, Mayor Sturm, H E Ratz, & Inspector S. Cassel

The following communication were presented the Nchile Star Refining Company ltd Hutchner

Re Replacing signs


Moved by Mayor Sturm Sec by HE Ratz that the miche star refining co ltd be give privilege to erect as sign brand on the House of Refuge Property at $15.00 per year to the satisfaction of the manager and subject to removal by giving them one months notice the co must also get a permit from the City of Kitchener – Carried


Moved by Mayor Sturm Sec by Warden Hallman that the manager send an account for collection to the home dairy for 2 years at $15 per year for having a sign brand on the property of the house of refuge


During their time as managers, the Amos’ improved some of the safety measures around the institution, such as updating the fire extinguishers in 1933, improving and adding an extension to the fire escapes in 1935 for $535.00, and for the first time adding a fire Alarm Box to notify the city firefighters and the House residents and staff in case of fire.


In 1941, $25.00 was given to Edward and Edna’s daughter as a wedding gift.


Kitchener Nov 6th 1941

House of Refuge


The Board of Management met this day at 2 o’clock P.M.

Present Warden Shaw, W Hostetler, Mayor Meinzinger, Mayor McKay & Inspector S Cassel


Moved by Warden Shaw Sec by Mayor McKay that the manager be hereby authorized to present Miss Marjorie Amos with twenty-five dollars as a wedding gift.  Carried


The committee adjourned at 4 o’clock P.M.


H.E. Ratz



However, by 1944, and maybe sometime before then, the House was feeling constrained by the lack of staff assistance inside and outside of the House. They were no longer raising hogs which was a good source of income for the House and the farm land became more and more barren. Below is the full report that was presented to the Waterloo County Council.


1944 Journal of Proceedings and By-Laws of the Municipal Council of the County of Waterloo; Source: Region of Waterloo Archives


Edward addressed the Council in 1946 about the losses from the operation of the farm land and to petition for the purchase of additional land for farm use. The Council took no action at the time. The House continued to sell plots of land to increase their profit. Up until the eventual demolition of the House, there were many buyers that petitioned the House of Refuge and the municipality to purchase plots of land around the institution to build houses. For more on the transition from the House of Refuge to the Home for the Old Aged, please see the House page and the Old age page.

Due to significant overcrowding in 1948-1949, it was brought to the attention of the County Council to decide what to do with the House of Refuge. They continued to look for solutions and in 1949 they purchased two new farms that started yielding more revenue for the House. Over the next few years, more and more land was being sold from the original House of Refuge to the city while new land was being bought to build a new institution.

Edward and Mary handed in their resignation letters in the summer of 1954, at which point the first superintendent and the first female took over, Edith Lovick. They moved to Elmira where their children were living and remained in that area until their deaths. Edward died in 1962 and Mary in 1970. They were both buried in the Elmira Union Cemetery.


The photograph of Edward and Mary Amos is courtesy of Don Amos.